We chose a new neighbourhood in which to stay in Rome this time, close to the Pantheon. I was hesitant, knowing that it would be close to a tourist site, packed with people and teeming with the sellers of cheap toys and cheaper umbrellas.
But our apartment is six flights up, overlooking a quiet(ish) piazza. With the windows open, we can hear the chatter and the music, but when the windows are closed, only the church bells and the occasional clanging of loading and unloading can be heard.
We are right above Crispino’s gelatari, which is rumored to be the best gelato in Rome. Apparently, it had a small bit in the film of “Eat, Pray, Love”. All I can say about that is: how unfortunate that anyone would find that somehow meaningful. The gelato is great, but I had to force myself across the threshold, knowing that Julia Roberts (or her eating stand-in-I’m not certain she actually eats) had done the same.
Around the corner is Tazzo D’Oro, the coffee place. Also very good. A block away is St. Eustachio coffee bar. The coffee there is indescribable, in the good way. But, there are always tourists lined up looking for a full cup of dishwater, and they are disappointed by the thick sweet thimbleful of espresso.
There is no mistaking me for a Roman. I try my limited Italian, often thoughtlessly touch the merchandise in shops (crude), and make weak attempts to dress with a casual elegance that turns out more shabby (very shabby) chic than anything resembling an Italian woman’s birthright to style.
But when it comes to coffee- save the dishwater; give me the thimbleful of a creamy espresso.
And save me from Eat, Pray, Love. Please.